Dexter season 7 episode 2 review: Sunshine And Frosty Swirl

Review Billy Grifter 10 Oct 2012 - 08:06

Dexter's seventh season is shaping up to be one of its most disturbing and enjoyable. Here's Billy's review of Sunshine and Frosty Swirl...

This review contains spoilers.

7.2 Sunshine And Frosty Swirl 

The opening episode was so pivotal that it was difficult to imagine where this one might take up, given that Dexter has now admitted to Debra the depth of his sociopathic problems.

Her reaction, well beyond the up-chuck, was typically pragmatic for her character. As she helped Dexter eliminate the crime scene, she's now an accessory to murder, and as such if she arrests him, she also has to turn herself in.

The idea that Dexter can suddenly develop some self-control is charming, if naive, in the same way that for some people addiction or obsession isn't something that can be cured by a change of scenery. Dexter knows it's unrealistic and so does Debra, if she's honest. The only question is how long she takes to work out that she's not in control of this situation, and what she then decides to do about it.

A great twist might be to convince herself that Dexter is under control, and then for something to happen where she wants to unleash him on some nasty people, knowing exactly what he'll do. Debra's days as Dexter's accomplice might not be over, or have even truly begun.

By far the oddest part of the story was those that involved Louis, who is either the world's dumbest troll or mentally ill in his own special way. Louis' actions made me appreciate just how reasonable Dexter was being about things when he didn't end up taking that midnight boat trip in trash bags. But he is a loose end that will need pinching off at some point, and depending how he reacts to being abducted that might be sooner rather than later. The best solution would be something custodial, like what Dexter arranged for Rita's ex all those years ago.

The other strange thing about the Louis story is that we know the hand from the evidence box is a copy that Louis made and sent to Dexter, so what happened to the original that was 'borrowed' by Ryan? Maybe someone else bought it online, or does Louis still have it? He's a collector, he's got it.

But this show is always about the threats that Dexter is aware of, and those he's yet to discover. We've got two of those invisible problems looming; LaGuerta's investigation into the death of Doakes, and the Ukrainian Mafia, set in motion by the disappearance of Victor. The mafia is a pot boiler that may develop into something substantial later, but the LaGuerta subplot clearly has ambitions to cause Debra and Dexter major issues.

Some parts of this episode I didn't really go for, especially the bit where she compared the blood slides. I mean, what did this actually prove, as it was a standard glass slide with a blood smear on it? As she didn't submit it into evidence, it's hardly anything she'd want to testify in court about, and the labs appear to have been able to test the blood on it without disturbing it in any visible way. Very clever.

The mafia subplot has an extra dimension, with Joey Quinn following his predictable single track mind, the one that might get him and the pretty Ukrainian stripper killed. Unless she's been sent to find out what the police know, and alert them to potential suspects. Joey's ability to be entirely driven by his own special urges was always going to be his undoing at some point, but he did seem to exercise some restraint for once.

As the episode progressed, the title didn't make any sense until the appearance of Randall, the philosophical killer. He's presented as a future incarcerated version of Dexter, helping the police find bodies he'd buried. Or, that's what it seems. The sunshine and Frosty Swirls are brief moment in Randall's life where he gets to be free from prison and kick back, before his final very calculated exit.

This end sequence painted a rather grim future for poor Dexter, where whatever optimism about his circumstances is just a façade wiped away like yet more blood splatter. We can assume this event is either something that shocks him into taking Debra's idea of recovery more seriously, or something where he embraces the unpleasant end that destiny has put aside for him.

What I took away with me was that we're asked to look at Dexter again, possibly through Debra's eyes, and the thoughts of Randall. Is he just a killer, and no more?

Have we, though the rules of Harry, given him sanction he doesn't deserve? It's a moral minefield, and we're moving though it with heavy boots. When we send soldiers away to war and they kill people we don't normally call them killers or murderers when they return. Given the victims he kills should this sort of ambiguity be extended to Dex? In our society the answer is an emphatic 'no', yet for more than six seasons now the audience has been encouraged to think exactly that. This might be the point where we accept that Dexter has done some serious wrong, and consider that there will be appropriate consequences for his actions before we're done.

With only two episodes on the slab so far, Dexter season 7 is setting a pace that could be difficult to maintain, and a disturbing direction that's far from predictable so far.

Next week Dexter gets to Buck The System, with the introduction of the lovely Yvonne Strahovski, now she's completely done with Chuck. What she can bring to this party is anyone's guess.

Read Billy's review of last week's episode, Are You...?, here.

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